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3 Reasons Why Building a Giant Mecha is a Really Bad Idea

6 October 2010 15 Comments

Mechas, we grew up with  them, Voltron, Gundam, The Mighty Orbots, The Power Rangers’ Megazord. It’s a pretty long list. As a kid you thought  it would be cool to pilot one of those things (I still do).  Well, actually it wouldn’t. The whole idea of  using a giant-sized humanoid robot in battle is incredibly ridiculous. Here are 3 reasons why.

1. It would be ridiculously expensive!

How expensive? Try around *960 million dollars!!.. for just one!

Takayuki Furuta, the director of Japan’s Future Robotics Technology Center, did the math. Back in 2008 in an attempt to renew kids’ interest in the robotics field; Furuta laid out plans to construct a life sized fully functional Gundam.

Here’s the breakdown in case you’re thinking of building one yourself.

Gundam Shopping List

Honeycomb Aluminum Boards $105,952,284
Manufacturing $317,762,624
Super Computer (IBM) $2,063,475
Gas Turbine Engines (GE) x7 $481,374,889
Superconducting Motors x 30 $10,132,912
Motor Drivers x 30 $10,132,912
Sensor $1,206,862
Cockpit $603,431
===========================================
Grand Total $960,000,931

Start saving

I know what some of you are thinking; “That’s not so much. The US military spends more on some of their planes. What about the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber? It’s *$2.1 billion a pop.” Well, the B-2 Spirit is actually a weapon. The above figures for the Gundam does not include the price of arming it. I’m pretty sure the cost of giant guns for a Gundam (or giant flaming swords for that matter) would be astronomical. Plus, how do you plan to get this thing to a war in a foreign country? It’ll need to fly, so add some more bucks for the cost of jet propulsion. I’d choose the B-2 versus a Gundam any day. An undetectable predator of the sky against a giant metal man is an unfair fight. Which leads to our next point.

2. It would be useless in battle!

Completely useless. The ideal setting for a Gundam battle would be a totally flat battlefield. Imagine spending 0.96 billion on your Gundam just to have it trip over a pesky school building and it get damaged. Here are a few terrains where your metal pal would have trouble walking; cities, jungles, swamps, deserts, and mountainous places. I think that pretty much covers everywhere land-based warfare takes place.

It would also have to be pretty much indestructible, because it would pretty much be a huge target for anything on the field with ammo to spare. These things would most likely be slow; it would be impossible to avoid everything coming it’s way. An attack helicopter and a good tank could easily take it down. If you’re the poor soul piloting it you’d be in for a hell of a ride. Speaking of which …….

3. Just piloting it would kill you!

The massive impact exerted for just one footstep of a giant mecha would be enough to kill the pilot. When us humans walk , 1.4 times the impact of our body weight is applied the feet while taking a step; it’s twice that when running. That force is then distributed through out your body. Now imagine the body of a 43 ton mecha. In Mr. Furuta’s own words;

It is rather easy to make a giant robot walk. However, the pilot would die from the large impact of that walking. If a robot weighs 43 tons the impact applied will be 1.8 times that; about 80 tons. How the walking takes place and how to absorb the landing impact both need to be carefully considered.

There you have it. I hope you’re not as heart broken as I am. Oh well, there is still flying cars to look forward to right?

ref: Wired , SimCentral , ScienceLinks and SciencePortal
Pic: Diego Garzon

* Figures not exactly accurate. Converted from yen (2008) to present US dollar.

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  • 1. It would be ridiculously expensive! -> it might be too expensive today… but nearing the future and knowing us humans… the prices for this parts would be more affordable… and currently we don’t have the technology to build it full size and functioning like that in the anime so it would be too early crunching numbers… it will naturally be too expensive…. just thinking about the physics and the algorithms to build it is expensive…

    2. It would be useless in battle! -> Like I said its too early… we still don’t have the technology. It would still be pretty far in the future and would require tremendous research to make it function satisfactory… after some more years who knows…

    3. Just piloting it would kill you! -> Why do we have engineers?

  • Sam Costanza

    I disagree…GE jet turbines aren’t *that* expensive. As far as using it in battle, well, with proper software, it would learn to maneuver on uneven terrain very quickly. And the inertia issue would be solved by suspending the pilot’s seat in a pneumatic cradle, much like a semi-tractor driver’s seat.

  • Abragolas

    Maybe with the actually used engineering materials it may be slow and heavy. But, what about carbon nanomaterials? they’re light and stronger than steel. A relatively light giant robot with proper artificial intelligence would learn how to react really fast from enemies.

    I still dream with a real Mazinger Z running or flying…Mazin..go! but for peace, not to make war and crush countries with it.

  • JAMZ192

    im going to make one

  • JAMZ192

    and why would we build something so big when there are small mecha in anime as well look at TTGL. so just think about this and i am going to make one and sell it to the government LOL maybe i should take over the world

  • JAMZ192

    and as for it being to heavy like Abragolas said use carbon nanomaterials but with just make it the shape of Honeycomb Aluminum Boards ok everyone peace

  • machoman

    who said it had to be giant?
    who said it had to be heavy?
    who said the pilot had to be inside?
    who said the robot had to go anywhere?
    who said it had to walk even!?
    who said it had to be a biped?

  • Njumkiy

    would still get rekt from 1 rpg or a few .50 cal why do you think we have tanks instead of mechs

  • Manga Girl (DBZ)

    Nope I love idiots who think silly things like this a gundam would not fall from a small tiny little rpg lol XD and especially not a “few 50. Cal bullets” smh

    The gundam would have to have early thin tank like armor to be damaged badly by a tiny pathetic rpg….

    A gundams only weak points are it’s joints which can be covered and protected

    A gundam is highly mobile with a booster stat wise they can go mach 5+ speeds (and every step a 20m gundam takes is like a thousand steps for a human so even if it’s slower it’s still fast compared to a average tank)

    A gundam can crush a entire team of tanks by just falling on them or stomping them with its foot or hell just waving it’s hand across would generate so much force it would push tanks aside…. it doesn’t even need a weapon he’ll it could even use its boosters on its feet to literally melt the tanks to death….lol or people..

    A machine gun for a gundam would have a barrel size bigger than any tanks and would obviously be fully automatic (accuracy wouldn’t matter too much as even a near miss shot would send tanks flying due to Shockwave from impact)

    A gundam like seen in stardust memory could shoot freaking nukes!!!

    A gundam can use a huge shield which can be packed with so much steel and special material that a pack of tanks would take a long time to ever put a dent in with their small tiny around 90mm cannons (real life tanks)

    A gundam is packed with high tech technology which even warns the pilot when a enemy is detected or shots fired…. and can scan and detect enemies from very very far away

    A gundam has much more range of motion to aim it’s weapons due to having a humanoid body with arms and even a elbow…..while a tank takes a long time to turn around…and is no where near as flexible obviously….especially at mach 5 speeds………which tanks only go at max….up to 30 something MPH…..

    Have you seen gundam seed where Cagallis group multiple times launched rpg rounds at a bucue mobile suit and it did absolutely nothing but annoy the bucue pilot? That was a cheap low quality mobile suit and that’s what you could expect from the situation you mentioned if some idiot decided to shoot some pathetic rpg rounds and “couple 50 Cal bullets” at a gundam mobile suit…..in RL of course….

    TBH I actually think real life mechas like the guntanks/gun cannons from mobile suit gundam are a possibility to create right now with modern technology…..after all its already been stated I read before that giant space colonies like seen in gundam is “easy” to do with modern technology

    And sorry but our current world military forces are pathetic to me compared to what a giant mecha can potentially do……which is nuke a entire city (and any surrounding cities) to entire obliteration with one nuke and destroy entire armies of puny 90mm barreled tanks with ease given the pilot is well talented of course (though if this was kira Yamato he wouldn’t even need a gundam to destroy our entire RL military lol he could do it in a jeep cause he is Jesus Yamato bow bitches)

    If a mecha can POTENTIALLY destroy entire armies by itself……then it would actually be a wise financial decisions to invest in these “expensive” mobile suits

  • Njumkiy

    not only am i just gonna skim over this since i posted that 7 months ago just trying to make something like that move would be very very hard

  • Manga Girl (DBZ)

    have you seen megabots (the first ever upcoming giant mecha battle in real life supposed to premiere this year with mk II from usa and kuratas from japan?)

    here is a video showing the two contestant mechas….. you can do some research later if you want

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4hi8k7njzo

    like i said in last message making a mobile suit like the guntank from mobile suit gundam or the origin…..is actually very well indeed within our capability……

    the kuratas and mk II are (especially the kuratas which is really high tech) mecha successes in RL…..and yet they only costed around a million dollars how do i know? YOU CAN BUY A KURATAS ON JAPAN EBAY!!!
    NOW JUST IMAGINE WHAT CRAZY TYPE OF MECHA WE HUMANS COULD BUILD TOGETHER WITH A MUCH LARGER FINANCIAL PURSE TO PULL FUNDS FROM RATHER THAN JUST A PUNY MILLION DOLLAR FUNDS….

    YOUR STATEMENT WAS HILARIOUS

  • Njumkiy

    Yea because a giant walking mech would be cheaper and more efficient then a tank or a jeep

  • Manga Girl (DBZ)

    actually it can be

    think about it if you build a unit like a mech that by itself can take out entire armies of tanks and pathetic jeeps before it falls……..it becomes a wise financial choice actually……and plus the new mechs would allow for much more freedom to do things in space for the future plus the mechs considering their huge size and superior armaments and technology would scare many people and countries and would act as a better deterrent for war im more scared of a giant mech than a average little tank

    its wiser to spend more money on something of high quality that will give you more for your buck then buy something cheap but also of cheap quality compared to what you could have (mech)

  • MechaMonsterFan-ARX-7

    Who said a mecha would have to be giant? Who said it had to be a Gundam? Who said a mecha had to be for Military use? I’ve always hated these “Reasons why *giant* mecha are unrealistic”. They always think inside the box and say “Let’s use Gundam as an example, since it’s popular and the only mecha I could knlw of”. And they always assume it has to be for battle use or it has to be above 20 feet tall. Meet the ATM-09-ST Scopedog. It’s only around 3 or 4 meters tall. Sure it is used by the military, but it is also used in battle arena entertainment. And it is not a Gundam. Watch this show and then redo this. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f3e7ae79c2036bfaae8dbc645cbffa39887eab2abfb7456c45688b5da7e46671.jpg